Raleigh Skyline – Seasons of Change

September 15th, 2011

I’ve been photographing Raleigh’s skyline since the year 2000. During that time, I’ve accumulated tens of thousands of images of the city. I decided to attempt a project to leverage my archives in a way that visualizes the ever changing conditions I set out to capture.

I recently built a computer (Core i7 2600k, 16gb RAM, SSD, etc) that could handle massive Photoshop files required for the following. The largest was nearly 5 gigabytes and 97 layers!

Here is what I came up with:
Downtown Raleigh Skyline Seasons - Version 1
Downtown Raleigh Skyline Seasons – Version 1
Buy a print or Download file (license) Link to this photograph.
The following versions were my trial runs, but I decided to post them anyway.


  1. Sam says:

    September 16th, 2011 at 1:37 am (#)

    Matt, these are spectacular! A big ‘congratulations’ on the new hardware; know that I, for one, am STOKED to see it put to good use on more projects like this in the future.

    Again – superb work, sir. Thanks, as always, for sharing your talents.

  2. Brad says:

    September 16th, 2011 at 6:39 am (#)


  3. karlaanne says:

    September 16th, 2011 at 7:29 am (#)


  4. Ernest says:

    September 16th, 2011 at 9:55 am (#)


    Congratulations on your new hardware!!! You deserve a system that can process your images faster. As for the work you posted here… What can I say? Truly amazing!!! You can look back 10+ years and be amazed at how much you have accomplished with so little to work with. If Raleigh could get a little more in terms of density and skyline you will be able to build an even more impressive collection, but the two key elements in photography – lighting and composition – is where you have to excel and you have been doing a fantastic job, in a consistent manner. Thanks for sharing your truly impressive work with us. It is truly inspirational to other photographers, as well.

  5. Paul says:

    September 16th, 2011 at 5:43 pm (#)

    This is awesoooome!

  6. Thomas says:

    September 18th, 2011 at 11:41 am (#)

    Outside of the economy, does anyone know what the status is of the Edison and Charter Square projects? I find it pathetic that theres developers cannot find a few tenants to start these projects, especially Charter Square (this area looks like an eyesore on F Street).

    What is the status of the hotel across from 42nd Street?

  7. Ernest says:

    September 19th, 2011 at 10:34 am (#)

    @Thomas: It would be more pathetic to have local developers going bankrupt, empty buildings and a high vacancy rate. It is not the developers’ job to lure businesses downtown, and at this stage we try to keep what we have, I am afraid. The Edison is very large and needs at least 1-2 large tenants. Red Hat was an ideal opportunity and the developer tried, but at the end Red Hat had to get the best deal for themselves, which was Two Progress Plaza. Charter Square is a big puzzle to me. Four developers involved and nothing yet 🙁 I think they were hoping for Red Hat, since they were the landlord already, but at the end they lost them. Charter Square and The Edison are mixed-use, which means that a great amount of coordination will be needed between different players (residential, hospitality and commercial).

    As for Powerhouse Plaza, their need is for a relatively small tenant, so it is safe to assume that as soon as they pre-lease the 100,000sf of commercial space, they will break ground. The question I cannot answer is whether the hotel developer is still interested or not. I assume they have a timeline and due to the current crisis they don’t care about delays, but I doubt they are not interested any more.

  8. Ernest says:

    September 19th, 2011 at 4:08 pm (#)

    @Thomas: This is not exactly an update, but it may reduce our hopes to see Charter Square moving forward a little faster. Given that 1) Charter Square is a project envisioned by a group of four developers (East-West Partners, Craig Davis Properties, White Oak Properties and Beacon Street Development), and 2) RTP and DT Raleigh are two different markets, there may be some not-so-good news for one of the major players. After losing Red Hat as a tenant, Craig Davis is looking at 91% vacancy rate in their Park Center properties. We are talking about 800,000sf of office space, in eight buildings, located at the intersection of Hwy 54 and Davis Dr, in Research Triangle Park. This is HUGE and I find it very hard to believe that Craig Davis Properties would push for Charter Square when they are looking desperately for new Park Center tenants.

    I have no information that Craig Davis is in trouble, nor do I suggest such thing, but if I were Craig Davis I would think “the Hell with Charter Square, let the city buy it back” and focus on filling up the vacant office space. Unless a major tenant is found for Charter Square, I don’t see how Craig Davis can pull this. I am an optimist, by nature, but reality for Charter Square is pretty tough to ignore. Unless the city offers an extension to the developers and a tenant is found soon after that, it will be hard to imagine Charter Square going anywhere in the next 5 years with the existing group of developers. I will not be happy about it, but it is a reality. The only thing that will upset me is if the foundation cannot hold a larger project. What if a new developer appears with a proposal for a couple of bigger/taller buildings?

  9. Brad says:

    September 19th, 2011 at 8:27 pm (#)

    Ernest – In that case, they put a roof on the current Charter Square location and use it as the parking deck for something outrageously tall on the lot between CS and the Progress Energy Center? Trying to set your mind at ease or something.

  10. Ernest says:

    September 19th, 2011 at 9:15 pm (#)

    @Brad: Forgive me, but I didn’t fully understand what you said – I had a long and tiring day. Are you saying that we could use Site 1 (Charter Square) as a parking deck for something taller that could end up in either Site 2, 3 or 4? I don’t know if that would make me feel any better. I just want to see Charter Square done, I guess. I simply hope that there are no restrictions that could make the current site unattractive because the location is simply too ideal for anything; the sky is the limit, in other words.

  11. Todd says:

    September 20th, 2011 at 1:14 pm (#)


  12. Brad says:

    September 20th, 2011 at 9:09 pm (#)

    Ernest – Yes, that sounds right. Trying to find the silver lining.

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Raleigh Skyline – Seasons of Change

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